Ticking the boxes – Northern Advocate 20th April 2013


The topic on Unitary Authorities is well upon us.

After attending a couple of the meetings held by Whangarei District Council on 20th March and the Northland Regional Council on 25th March, I felt the consultation period was being rushed, a submission having to be lodged with the Local Government Commission by Monday 15 April.

A large number at the meetings were of similar opinion believing a decision of such magnitude needed thorough and genuine consultation.

The opinions of the meetings that I personally attended came through loud and clear that the majority wanted either the ‘status quo’ or, as a second choice, an ‘enhanced status quo.

Their reasoning was that they had not been advised of, or aware of, any problems requiring such drastic changes.

I was most comfortable with what the majority had decided upon and trusted that our representatives would carry those wishes of the people forward.

I was disappointed, but not surprised, to find in the media and online shortly afterwards, that both councils had made submissions that did not reflect the wishes of the community.

WDC had opted for two Unitary Authorities and NRC for a single Unitary Authority with seven local Community Boards with real, legally-protected powers.

Disillusioned once again, I believe our consultation processes are flawed.

Our elected representatives undertake consultation processes, to ‘tick the boxes’, but the results appear to be what those that we have put in power, do what they want anyway. Then of course they may well be being dictated to by central government about what they want in our districts. Weren’t we meant to be living in a democracy? I have started the communication, how about your opinions.

Warren Slater



(Items that were abridged by Northern Advocate are in italics, for their published copies)